Requiem and Farewell

Tonight was the final rehearsal for tomorrow night’s performance of Verdi’s Requiem, nicknamed the Defiant Requiem. It is truly going to be a spectacular program. This whole week, the famous conductor, Murry Sidlin, has been leading us in preparation for a touching presentation.

It is called the Defiant Requiem because the Jews at Terezin sang the piece to their captors. They sang what they could not say to them. The concert will feature video interviews of survivors, narration, and of course the music itself. The 170-voice chorus and 75-piece orchestra will make for a thunderous sound. I have enjoyed this week of rehearsals. It’s not every day that I get to play violin with such a large group.

Tomorrow will not only be a magnificent performance, but a momentous one for me. It will be my last. Not that I will never play with the Signature Symphony again. I might. It’s just that with my plans to be at graduate school starting in August, I won’t be here to play in the concerts. So, for me, it is a kind of farewell. Hardly anyone knows it. But as the lights diminish and we quietly leave the stage tomorrow evening, I am aware that I may be leaving for the last time. There will be no applause. The music and story demand it.

As for me, I really am leaving. Quietly. No big deal. No disruption. Just smoothly transitioning from one stage of life to another. It’s a bittersweet goodbye. But I’m moving on. I will fondly remember being a part of the Signature Symphony, and all the music it made me love. And I will consider it an honor to have been a part of such a meaningful and magnificent production such as the Defiant Requiem.

Prayer for a Friend

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. – Psalm 9: 9-10

I’m praying for a friend tonight.

I want to be competent to counsel.

And I know I can’t counsel without being asked.

So, I pray to the ultimate Counselor. He’ll do what needs to be done.

Lord, show her that Your Word is what she needs.

Jesus Lives, and So Shall I

Jesus lives, and so shall I.
Death! thy sting is gone forever:
He, who deigned for me to die,
Lives, the bands of death to sever.
He shall raise me with the just;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives and reigns supreme;
And, his kingdom still remaining
I shall also be with Him,
Ever living, ever reigning.
God has promised; be it must:
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and God extends
Grace to each returning sinner;
Rebels He receives as friends,
And exalts to highest honor.
God is True as He is Just;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and by His grace,
Victory o’er my passions giving,
I will cleanse my heart and ways,
Ever to His glory living.
The weak He raises from the dust;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and I am sure
Naught shall e’er from Jesus sever,
Satan’s wiles, and Satan’s power,
Pain or pleasure– ye shall never!
Christian armor cannot rust;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, and death is now
But my entrance into glory
Courage! then, my soul, for thou
Hast a crown of life before thee;
Thou shalt find thy hopes were just–
Jesus is the Christian’s Trust.

– Christian F. Gellert (1715-1769)

The tune (sung in German)

Christ and the cross

Disclaimer: I do not endorse everything on all of the following websites. The following direct links are merely articles/quotes/songs that I found encouraging and thought might be to readers as well.

What Made the Cross so Heavy?

Was 3 Hours Of Suffering Enough?

The Answer to My Doubts

May Thy Cross…

How Awesome is That Day to Me

Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted

Ah, Lord Jesus

Herzliebster Jesu (German lyrics)

All Glory, Laud, and Honor

God's love: incarnation, initiation, propitiation

Notes from last Sunday’s sermon:

Have you merely gone from being a full-time pagan to a part-time dabbler in sin?

Your sin is so great that it took nothing less than the death of God’s Son to pay for it.

If you think that God is a loving grandfather and doesn’t really punish sin, here are some passages for you to read:
Revelation 1:13-17 . Hebrews 12:18-24 . Hebrews 12:25-29 . Isaiah 6:3-7 . Ezekiel 1:26-2:1 . Genesis 15:9-17

1) God manifested His love in Christ’s incarnation1 John 4:9
God’s love is not abstract. It is personal–displayed in a person.

The cross displays the power to bring dead people to life. Each Christian is evidence of this.

2) God manifested His love by initiation. – 1 John 4:10a
We were not the initiators.

I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
he moved my soul to seek him, seeking me.
It was not I that found, O Savior true;
no, I was found of thee.

Thou didst reach forth thy hand and mine enfold;
I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea.
‘Twas not so much that I on thee took hold,
as thou, dear Lord, on me.

I find, I walk, I love, but oh, the whole
of love is but my answer, Lord, to thee!
For thou wert long beforehand with my soul;
always thou lovedst me.

– anonymous

3) God manifested His love in substitutionary propitiation. – 1 John 4:10b
substitutionary propitiation = satisfactory payment
The offended paid the full penalty for the criminal.

an example of pursuing excellence

The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra is an amazing project conducted among the poor of Venezuela. These young people have been offered a music education, and they have pursued excellence (as is evident in their recordings). Enjoy the following videos and look them up on YouTube* if you’re interested in seeing/hearing more.


*Browse YouTube with caution. While there is much of educational value on that site, there is also much that should be avoided.

three pieces

My life is full of music.

Just in the last couple of days, I’ve grown fond of three performances—each in a different style. I want to share them with you.

Complete in Thee is a song I have on a CD, but here is a singer who sings it as a one-man quintet. Listen to the words, and you may find them to be precious.

Weightless is a song that you can download for free. “Forgiveness is weightless” and “well hidden bundle on my back”(allusion to Pilgrim’s Progress?) are the phrases that stick out the most to me.

Mahler’s 1st Symphony (the “Titan”) is much on my mind as the Signature Symphony is performing it on Saturday. Here is the fourth movement conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.

I am a prodigal

I had not thought of myself as a prodigal. But, truly, I am. Daily I choose my own way and not God’s. And God still claims me as His. What mercy! Though I beg for His chastisement daily, He holds out His grace still.

“We are all* prodigal sons, and not disinherited; we have received our portion, and misspent it, not been denied it. We are God’s tenants here, and yet here, he, our landlord, pays us rents; not yearly, nor quarterly, but hourly and quarterly; every minute he renews his mercy.”
– John Donne

*The context of the quote leads me to believe that this “all” refers to the body of believers in Jesus Christ, and indeed, there is no other group this particular “all” could indicate.

Addition: Here is a song that speaks of the mystery of God’s mercy. If you would prefer to not hear it, you can turn off your computer speakers and just read the words as they appear on the screen.

This Fathomless Love

There is no greater love.

Lord, what moved Your heart to love lowly man
Before any star could herald Your praise?
And why did You come, abasing Yourself
Veiled in a robe of frail human clay?
Why would You, the pure, give Your life for the vile
The innocent seeking the guilty
To be reconciled?
I can’t comprehend this fathomless love
I’m gripped and amazed at what You have done
Why would the adored become the despised
To bear all the furious wrath that was mine?
How awesome this mystery
Of Your fathomless love for me
Why would You adopt and take as Your own
Those who had crushed Your one precious Son?
Why mercy and grace towards Your enemies?
Your name they have cursed and Your throne they have shunned
Oh, how could You choose to show kindness to these?
The ones who would mock You and hate You
The ones just like me?
© 1999 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)

Reason . Leading . Sand

Recently, listening to Sovereign Grace Music on Pandora has introduced me to some gems of songs. Praise God for the writing of lyrics that glorify Him and speak truth into our lives.

Below are the three songs referred to in the title of this post.

_________________________________________

There Is A Reason

late at night I wonder why
sometimes I wonder why
sometimes I’m so tired
I don’t even try
seems everything around me fails
but I hold on to the promise
that there is a reason

late at night, the darkness makes it hard to see
the history of the saints who’ve gone in front of me
through famine, plague and disbelief
His hand was still upon them
cause there is a reason
there is a reason

Good reminder that history proclaims God’s faithfulness.

he makes all things good
he makes all things good
there’s a time to live and a time to die
a time for wonder and to wonder why
cause there is a reason
there is a reason

I believe in a God who sent His only son
to walk upon this world and give His life for us
with blood and tears on a long, dark night
we know that He believed
that there is a reason
there is a reason

Christ is our example for enduring hardship while believing that there is a reason. I appreciate that this is brought out in the song.

for the lonely nights
and broken hearts
the widow’s mite
in the rich man’s hand
and the continent
whose blood becomes a traitor

for the child afraid to close their eyes
the prayers that seem unanswered

SEEM – interesting and meaningful wording

there is a reason
there is a reason

– Words and Music by Andrew Osenga and Randall Goodgame

Lead of Love

Looking back at the road so far
The journey’s left its share of scars
Mostly from leaving the narrow and straight

Looking back it is clear to me
That a man is more than the sum of his deeds
And how You’ve made good of this mess I’ve made
Is a profound mystery

Looking back You know You had to bring me through
All that I was so afraid of
Though I questioned the sky, now I see why
Had to walk the rocks to see the mountain view
Looking back I see the lead of love

Good reminder that one day we’ll look back with more understanding. Now, we must trust that He is guiding us no matter what it looks like.

Looking back I can finally see (I’d rather have wisdom)
How failures bring humility (than be)
Brings me to my knees (a comfortable fool)
Helps me see my need for Thee

– Caedmon’s Call

Shifting Sand

Sometimes I believe all the lies
So I can do the things I should despise
And every day I am swayed
By whatever is on my mind

I hear it all depends on my faith
So I’m feeling precarious
The only problem I have with these mysteries
Is they’re so mysterious

And like a consumer I’ve been thinking
If I could just get a bit more
More than my 15 minutes of faith,
Then I’d be secure

(Chorus)
My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace

What is your trust in? Your faith, or God’s grace?

I’ve begged you for some proof
For my Thomas eyes to see
A slithering staff, a leprous hand
And lions resting lazily

A glimpse of your back-side glory
And this soaked altar going ablaze
But you know I’ve seen so much
I explained it away

Waters rose as my doubts reigned
My sand-castle faith, it slipped away
Found myself standing on your grace
It’d been there all the time

– Caedmon’s Call